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Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 8:16 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Jones, MacKinnon, Drouin might skip fitness test

TORONTO -- It's possible the long grind of the junior hockey season, including the Memorial Cup tournament that ended four days ago, will keep top 2013 NHL Draft prospects Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks and Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin of the Halifax Mooseheads from participating in the fitness testing at the NHL Scouting Combine.

The trio is 1, 2, 3 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for this year's draft.

The agent for Jones and MacKinnon, Pat Brisson, told NHL.com his clients will undergo medical exams Friday as scheduled, but a decision on whether they would participate in the 13 individual tests designed to evaluate strength and fitness would be made afterward.

"In my opinion, you need about a week or two to get ready for some of those tests, and we have to respect what they've gone through here lately," Brisson said. "They're in game shape, but you have to treat them like Ferraris in a sense that now these athletes have to prepare for these things. Not that they can't do it, but we'll undergo the medical exam and take it from there."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 2:57 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

NHL-caliber shot makes Pulock one to watch

TORONTO -- Simply put, defenseman Ryan Pulock of the Brandon Wheat Kings is a warrior.

Despite missing considerable time in 2012-13 with a fractured orbital bone then a broken wrist, he impressed the scouts enough to earn the No. 12 ranking on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top 2013 NHL Draft-eligible North American skaters.

"He does everything well," Central Scouting's Peter Sullivan told NHL.com. "He's got the hardest shot I've seen in years. He's so smart. The thing that's even more impressive is I've seen him take seven or eight super hits -- body checks and hip checks -- laying guys into the boards. He's got all the tools to be a top pick."

Sullivan went as far as to say Pulock has an NHL-caliber shot right now.

"He's got one of the hardest shots not only in the Western Hockey League, but would have one of the hardest in the NHL," Sullivan said. "Don't laugh … it's that good."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 12:43 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Tambellini knows the drill at Scouting Combine

TORONTO -- It's pretty safe to assume that center Adam Tambellini of the Surrey Eagles in the British Columbia Hockey League had a good idea what questions would be asked during team interviews at the 2013 NHL Scouting Combine.

As the son of former Edmonton Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini, the 6-foot-2.25, 169-pound left-handed shot had quite the advantage.

"We had a little demo going at home, and it was cool to hear what he had to say about it and what they're looking for because he used to be the one asking the questions," Tambellini told NHL.com, referencing his father. "It was nice to lean on him for some help, and I think it worked out."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 10:34 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Shinkaruk remains a confident leader

TORONTO -- Medicine Hat Tigers forward Hunter Shinkaruk will enter the 2013 NHL Draft with an open mind, but he admits it's only natural for him to want to hear his name announced as early as possible.

"I'm not really out to set a number where I think I'm going to go, but obviously I want to go as high as possible in the first round," Shinkaruk told NHL.com. "I feel like I've had three good years in Medicine Hat, and the scouts have seen me and know what I'm all about. I'd like to go in the No. 6-to-15 range at the draft, but a lot of things change on draft day. Either way, it'll be an exciting day for me and my family."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.29.2013 / 7:45 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Seth Jones arrives at NHL Draft Combine

TORONTO -- Three days removed from a disappointing loss in the Memorial Cup final, Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones was right back at it Wednesday at the NHL Scouting Combine.

Jones, ranked No. 1 among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top draft-eligible skaters, had nine interviews on his first day at the Combine. He'll have eight more  Thursday before undergoing his fitness examination Friday at the Toronto International Centre.

Jones told NHL.com he did meet Wednesday with the Colorado Avalanche, the team holding the No. 1 pick at the NHL Draft on June 30 at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

"They said there's a lot of hype that goes into [the first pick], and lot of attention and scrutiny as well," Jones told NHL.com. "They asked if I could handle it and obviously I gave them an honest answer. They listened to what I had to say and, I guess, were fine with my response."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.29.2013 / 2:28 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Parade a unique backdrop for Fucale's 18th birthday

TORONTO -- When was the last time more than 4,000 fans sang "Happy Birthday" to you?

It happened to Halifax Mooseheads goalie Zachary Fucale on Tuesday during a parade for the first "Mooseheads Day" to honor the team's victories in the President Cup of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Memorial Cup as the best team in the Canadian Hockey League.

Fucale, who turned 18, said it was one of the most memorable moments of his life.

"The parade was cool, and it's amazing that it fell on my birthday," Fucale told NHL.com. "There were like 5,000 people in the streets, yelling and everything. During the little ceremony we had, there were 5,000 people singing [for] my birthday. Can you believe that?"

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.29.2013 / 11:33 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Remparts prospect reminisces about Roy's mentoring

TORONTO -- It has to be a bittersweet moment this week for the four players invited to the NHL Scouting Combine from the Quebec Remparts.

That's because Remparts coach Patrick Roy recently was hired as coach of the Colorado Avalanche. Roy, who also served as general manager for eight seasons, and is a part-owner of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League franchise, was introduced to the Colorado media Tuesday during a press conference.

Remparts center Kurt Etchegary, No. 72 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top 2013 NHL Draft-eligible North American skaters, considered it an honor to be coached by a legend.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 9:19 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Red Wings scout looking forward to NHL Draft

TORONTO -- One reason the Detroit Red Wings have been a perennial contender is the organization's knack for finding premier players in the NHL Draft.

It's one thing to find a future all-star in the first round, but to pinpoint one in the later rounds takes a tremendous amount of foresight and vision. Hakan Andersson, who began scouting for the Red Wings in 1990 on a recommendation and is now the director of European scouting for the club, saw that potential in Tomas Holmstrom (No. 257 in 1994), Pavel Datsyuk (No. 171 in '98), Henrik Zetterberg (No. 210 in '99), Niklas Kronwall (No. 29 in 2000), Jiri Hudler (No. 58 in '02), Valtteri Filppula (No. 95 in '02), Jonathan Ericsson (No. 291 in '02) and Johan Franzen (No. 97 in '04).

More recently, right wing Gustav Nyquist (No. 121 in '08) has burst upon the scene.

Joe McDonnell, Detroit's director of amateur scouting with the Red Wings, is armed with a pick in each of the seven rounds for the 2013 NHL Draft in Newark, N.J., on June 30. It's a situation he's extremely pleased about.

"I think it's real deep draft," McDonnell told NHL.com. "We just finished up our year-end meetings [on May 26] and know we're going to get a player if we're picking in the 18th spot or lower. We think we're going to get a real good player no matter where we're picking in the first round."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 9:13 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Comrie benefits from visit by Carey Price

TORONTO -- When Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price made a surprise visit to his former junior hockey team during the work stoppage last year, top 2013 draft-eligible prospect Eric Comrie was front and center.

Comrie, ranked No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of North American goaltenders, finished 20-14-3 with a 2.62 goals-against average, .915 save percentage and two shutouts in an injury-shortened season for the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League.

Though Comrie (6-foot, 167 pounds) is quick to credit Tri-City goalie coach Lyle Mast for much of his progress and success, he also was impressed with Price in the short visit he made with the team. The Canadiens goalie spent four seasons in Tri-City from 2003-07.

"He came to Tri-City and it was an unbelievable experience," Comrie told NHL.com. "He came back and practiced with us and shared his knowledge with me, and it was the most fun I've ever had in some time. Just being around him … he showed you how hard you have to work. It was amazing how humble he was."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 9:12 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

High school rivals are roommates at Combine

TORONTO -- Two of the top high school players eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft were given quite the surprise this week after learning they would be sharing a hotel room during their six-day stay for the NHL Scouting Combine.

Further complicating matters is the fact defenseman Thomas Vannelli of Minnetonka, Minn., and center Connor Hurley of Edina happen to play for rival schools. As members of the Lake Division, Minnetonka defeated Edina twice last season, each time by a 4-3 score. Hurley had three assists and Vannelli two assists in the two matches.

"We're friends off the ice, but on the ice it's kind of a rivalry," Hurley told NHL.com. "We played against each other a couple of times since we're in the same conference and his team got the best of us. But 1-on-1, I got the best of him on the ice. Don't tell him that though."

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Quote of the Day

I'm very excited about what happened today. We've worked on this deal with Toronto for a month, or over a month. It got a little bit of legs on draft day, but it really heated up last night, and we were able to complete the deal today.

— Penguins GM Jim Rutherford on Phil Kessel, who he acquired from the Maple Leafs in a trade on Wednesday
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